Combine Work and Travel with Carlota and Borja

Meet Carlota and Borja

Carlota and Borja are two filmmakers from Madrid. In 2021, they decided to trade their briefcases for camera gear and launch their own business! They founded IN THE WILD Studios, a media agency where they work with sustainable fashion and travel brands.

Carlota is half English, half Spanish. Born and raised in Madrid, she has a Master’s Degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. Alongside co-founding ITW, she works in the international affairs sector. Borja is a Spanish filmmaker and screenwriter. He has bachelors in Marketing. As well as co-founding ITW and making campaigning videos for non-profits that protect digital rights, he’s making some narrative short films that will be released this year.

They met by chance when they were both invited to be teaching assistants in a university course. “Our love for travel, film and our desire to live a life on the road made us connect instantly.”

Where did you catch the travel bug?

We’ve both always been drawn to experiencing other cultures. We have a deep interest in history and international affairs, and a desire to understand the world more profoundly.

For us, traveling doesn’t mean taking a holiday, but it’s more a way of life and a philosophy to understand yourself and the world better.

How long have you been travelling?

We don’t really think in terms of traveling. We have built a lifestyle around the idea of living in places that inspire us. Right now we’re based in Madrid — we’re highly focused on creative work at the moment. But we’ll be on the road again soon bringing these creations to life, or simply to live new experiences and immerse ourselves in different cultures. 

Before we met, Borja lived and worked in China for a year, and after that, he spent the next six months backpacking through South East Asia, and then some time in South America. Carlota worked in New York, Brussels, and Washington DC.

Which one of you has the idea and who makes the plans?

We draw inspiration for our travels from many places, films, books, photography, and past experiences. We like to dream together about destinations that inspire us and decide what places we would like to see.

But when it comes to the organization of travel dates, and scheduling projects with clients during our trip, Carlota manages the organization and Borja manages the shooting.

How do you afford to travel?

We’ve worked hard to save for the travel we do today. It’s not only saving for flights and accommodations. When you do anything related to film and photography, the equipment is also very expensive. So it’s a lot of hard work to be able to afford the things that we really need to materialize the ideas we have in our heads.

During the past two years, we were both working in full-time remote jobs, so even when we were abroad, we would have our full-time income supporting us. We also make a very conscious effort to live as minimally as possible and save up throughout the years.

Right now we are mostly traveling for our work for ITW Studios. The studio has got to a point in which we’re able to generate steady income from it. In the following weeks, we’ll go to Greece to produce some video campaigns for two sustainable fashion brands and a luxury hotel, which we’re looking forward to sharing with you soon.

These productions mean hard work, and we spend every sunrise and sunset shooting different concepts. But a few years ago we couldn’t have imagined that we could make a living doing what we love.

After that, we’ll probably go to Bali. Usually, we like to organize several productions on the same schedule, and that usually takes a few months of planning.

How long do you want to travel?

The ultimate goal is to build a life you don’t need a holiday from. That way traveling becomes more linked to your way of life, and it doesn’t matter if you move to a place for six months, or you spend a few weeks traveling across cities.

Location independence is really important for us and it’s something we have worked very hard for. In this sense, we hope our future work will give us more opportunities to experience new places for long and short periods of time.

When did you start making films?

Borja started off making short documentaries about digital rights issues for non-profits in London.

In 2020 he was about to direct and produce his first feature documentary, but as soon as borders started to close down, he had to postpone all his interviews. Borja says that was a blessing because it made him realize that what he’s been wanting all along was to write and direct narrative films.

In the following weeks, Borja will release his first short film called Resignation Letter, a psychological horror film he wrote and directed at the end of 2021. And he’s currently in pre-production with his second short film. 

He’s really looking forward to sharing them soon.

What is the worst piece of travel advice you’ve been given?

We think a mistake a lot of people make at the beginning of their travels is going to the most touristic places, and not exploring off the beaten path.

There is so much value and culture in some of the most famous cities, but there is so much world to discover that is not on social media and in travel guides. So our advice would be to read local guides, speak to locals, and search for places that are not famous on Instagram. You will experience an authenticity that can’t compare to anything.

Another mistake other people make is listening to the advice ‘since you’re there you have to go to x’. While traveling we’d rather visit fewer places than run around to see as many places as possible — it becomes just like checking boxes. We rather stay in fewer locations and spend more time there. This way you get to experience the city or country in a completely different way. If you have more time, you’ll see the sort of rarities that make a culture interesting in the first place.

What is one thing you wish you’d known before you started travelling?

Working independently or remotely really opened our eyes to the fact that traveling doesn’t have to be reduced to just a week in the summer. You can work hard to achieve location independence, and base yourself in different parts of the world. We love this kind of slow travel, where you spend a few months getting to know somewhere, build a life and work with the freedom to give you this independence.

What is one thing you will never travel without?

We always like to bring several zero-waste travel items, like a coffee press, a blender, reusable Tupperware, reusable water bottles, and reusable cutlery. Not only do you reduce your impact on the environment, but it also saves you a lot of money and is really useful when traveling to more remote places.

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